Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

‘The Land of the Changing Sun’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 8, 2018 in Pulps, Reprints, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘The Land of the Changing Sun’

'The Land of the Changing Sun'A couple of subgenres of science fiction I’ve had an interest in are utopian fantasies and hollow earth stories.

The first are usually about some society that is presented as better than ours. And often set in either an inaccessible location (a lost world of some kind) or in the future or some alternate reality. Some use it to push a certain political belief, many times some form of socialism. Others push a more refined spiritual society. Or a combination of both. There were many such works in the 1800s, less so in the 1900s and more recently.

Hollow earth stories are a specific subgenre of lost world fantasies, set either in the center of a supposedly hollow earth (usually with a central sun), or in an enormous cavern located below the surface. Examples of these works are Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ Pellucidar series or Jules Verne‘s Journey to the Center of the Earth. These stories can be the setting for wild adventures in a world with prehistoric creatures, like in the Pellucidar series, or allow the author to showcase an unknown, but “advanced” civilization.

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More Solar Pons

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017 in Pastiche, Pulps, Reprints, Review, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

More Solar Pons

'The Dossier of Solar Pons'Solar Pons is popular pastiche of Sherlock Holmes that was created by August Derleth and continued by Basil Copper. I previously posted on him, and at the time bemoaned the fact that while the Derleth Pons stories are still in print, no one has brought back the Copper ones.

Well, now that has changed.

Thanks to the work of Stephen Jones, PS Publishing in the United Kingdom has brought back into print all of Basil Copper‘s Solar Pons stories in hardback and now seven paperback volumes. And these are the definitive versions, as they restore the text that had been altered by Pinnacle Books. And I loved the fact they kept Pinnacle’s “Solar Pons” logo, though the cover artwork is new and very nice.

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The children of Burroughs

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, December 18, 2017 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, Reprints, Review, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The children of Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs

It is interesting that while many artists and writers have children, few of those children follow in their footsteps. There have been a few comic strips continued by the sons and daughters of the creators, and not much else. At most you’ll have the children perhaps manage the estate of their parents.

An interesting example of this in the pulp world is found with the children of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He had three: Joan, Hulbert, and John Coleman.

Joan would marry one of the early actors for Tarzan, and she played Jane in a Tarzan radio show. Hulbert, as far as I know, pursued other matters, but apparently did get involved with helping with the business side of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. John Coleman got involved in his father’s work, but in a unique way.

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‘Pulp Adventures’ #26

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Detective Pulps, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, New Pulp, Pulps, Reprints, Review, Weird Fiction
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Pulp Adventures’ #26

'Pulp Adventures' #26Bold Ventures Press is back with another new issue of Pulp Adventures, #26 for the Summer of 2017.  And we get another Norman Saunders cover.  Was wondering if he’s return.

As always, a mix of old and new pulp in a wide range of genres:  mystery, western, horror, adventure, pulp hero and more.  Some stories are almost a 100 years old!!

From classic pulp we get the following:

“The Doting Burglar” by Ben Hecht is a fairly interesting tale that appeared way back in 1917 in All Story Weekly.  The author, whom we learn more from the blurb is as interesting.  He was a journalist and writer from the 1920s until he passed in 1964.  Like many pulp writers he also wrote plays and film scripts, and even lyrics.  He got 6 Academy Award nominations.

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‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #3: Fighting Crime One Dime at a Time’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2017 in Dime Novels, Non-fiction, Pulps, References, Reprints, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #3: Fighting Crime One Dime at a Time’

Fighting Crime One Dime at a TimeEd Hulse and his Murania Press have put out a third Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents volume, this time focused on the pulp heroes: Fighting Crime One Dime at a Time.

(And, yes, there is a second volume in the series, The Penny-a-Word Brigade. I just haven’t gotten that one, and when I do I’ll post a review.)

As a pulp-hero fan, I recommend this volume, which has a whole set of articles on pulp heroes, all reprinted from previous issues of Blood ‘n’ Thunder. We also get a couple of pulp-hero comic stories from the golden age. Now, these are not your standard overview articles (though there are a couple of those). Several delve into some interesting topics, some have helped me with some of my postings here, and all are written by several pulp historians.

We get articles on many of the major heroes, and a couple of obscure ones.

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Francis Stevens and ‘The Citadel of Fear’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 2, 2017 in Fantasy Pulp, Reprints, Review, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Francis Stevens and ‘The Citadel of Fear’

'The Argosy' (Sept. 14, 1918)An interesting book I picked up recently was Francis Stevens’ The Citadel of Fear. Reprinted by Armchair Fiction as part of their Lost World-Lost Race series, this novel was originally serialized in The Argosy in 1918.

This particular edition had a short select of artwork from her other works (covers of their appearances in pulp magazines), as well as the wrap-around artwork for the Paperback Library reprint of Citadel. It also had a short bio of Stevens and it was interesting.

Francis Stevens was really Gertrude Barrows Bennett (1884–1948), an early author of fantasy and science fiction that some call the “woman who invented dark fantasy.” She actually dropped out of school after the eighth grade and later became a stenographer. Her first published work of fiction was a short story “The Curious Experience of Thomas Dunbar,” published in The Argosy in 1904. She later married and had a daughter, but her explorer husband died on an expedition. During World War I, her father died, and Gertrude had to help support her invalid mother.

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